If you’re like most of the thousands of students who have taken television writing courses through the Writers’ Program, you’ve no doubt fantasized about one day becoming a staff writer on a successful show, or else seeing your original sitcom or episodic idea featured among the new fall line-up. Let’s face it though: no matter how good a writer you are, the road to Hollywood can be harder to navigate than rush hour traffic on the 405.

And so, in order to give television writing students the same opportunity for exposure currently enjoyed by our feature film writers, the Writers’ Program is launching a brand new Television Writing Competition in 2011.

Energized by the wholly positive feedback that came from the industry professionals who judged this year’s Screenplay Competition, and buoyed by the overwhelming interest in the winners–Elissa Matsueda, Terrence Michael, and Greg Amici–by Hollywood agents and managers, the Writers’ Program decided it was high time our television writers had a similar shot at success. Our goal is to launch a new generation of talent to parallel the successes of feature film writers Stuart Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Australia; Collateral; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl); Randi Mayem Singer (Mrs. Doubtfire); and Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), all of whom gained their first industry exposure through a Writers’ Program screenwriting competition.

Students who have taken three television writing courses in the Writers’ Program between March 2009 and March 2011 will be eligible to enter the 2011 competition. Pilots and or spec scripts must have been developed–though not necessarily completed–in a Writers’ Program course. Just like the Screenplay Competition winners, each of the top three Television Writing Competition winners will be mentored by one of our exceptional Writers’ Program instructors before the final judging by industry professionals next September, when cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded. More importantly however, the top three winners’ names will be featured in an ad in the Hollywood Reporter and loglines will be sent to 1,000+ television executives. That’s serious Hollywood exposure for three exceptional Writers’ Program television-writing students!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for classes now and start whipping your spec scripts or pilots into shape in time for the competition deadline of March 17, 2011. Of course, applications for our tried and true Screenplay Competition are also being accepted. More details on both Competitions are available here.

Hillary Hintzen is a screenwriting advisor.

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